In 1966, a US teen magazine called Datebook reprinted an interview with John Lennon, which had previously featured in a British newspaper.

In the interview, Lennon said the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus."

This was topped-off with another quote in the headline: "I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity!"

In a shrewd act of controversy rousing, Arthur Unger, Datebook's publisher, sent the issue to Southern radio stations.

The resulting furore is well-documented, and was perhaps the most contreversial incident to surround the Beatles during their decade-long career.

Teenagers burned their Beatles records, Lennon was forced to apologise and it is speculated that the media firestorm was a key factor in the Beatles decision to quit touring.

Now, 43 years later, RR Auction of New Hampshire, US, is auctioning a very special copy of the offending Datebook article signed for Unger by John Lennon.

Lennon's middle name was Winston but the autograph distinctly reads 'John C. Lennon' - a mischievous allusion to Jesus Christ. It is the only known instance when the rock legend used this signature.

"It's probably the only thing he signed using that signature," Mike Stern, a collector and expert on Beatles memorabilia who currently owns the magazine, told the Wall Street Journal.

Stern has timed the sale to coincide with the issuing of the Beatles remastered music catalogue and the release of the new Beatles: Rock Band video game.

The unique autograph is expected to bring upwards of $10,000, said Bobby Livingston, director of sales at RR - significantly more than the $1,200-2,000 that the standard Lennon autograph commands.

"It's a historically significant magazine," Livingston says.

"Then he has the wit to sign it John C. Lennon. It struck me immediately as fantastic."

The auction started on Monday August 31 and ends on September 16th.

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